2017 International Friendly, International Friendly
  • Teerasil Dangda (63')

Teerasil Dangda helps Thailand beat Kenya in Datsakorn farewell

Thailand striker Teerasil Dangda was the hero once again as the War Elephants beat Kenya 1-0 on an evening of celebration for midfielder Datsakorn Thonglao, who finally earned his 100th cap.

Teerasil netted the second-half winner in an entertaining match at Muang Thong United's SCG Stadium.

And his former Muang Thong teammate Datsakorn came in from a three-year international exile to make it a century of games for the national side. The 100th cap is also likely to be the last for the 33-year-old, who is not even a regular starter at BEC Tero Sasana these days.

But the game gave the Thai fans an opportunity to pay tribute to the midfielder whose career saw him lift the Thai Premier League title as an 18-year-old with Tero in 2002, and also earn three winners' medals with Muang Thong.

Despite the testimonial feel, the visitors quickly dispelled any notion that this would be played in a friendly manner as Pokklaw Anan and Thitipan Puangchan were on the end of some heavy challenges.

Kenya threatened first after 10 minutes when John Makwata drove at the Thai defence before firing just wide of Kawin Thamsatchanan's left-hand post.

They came closer a minute later when Clifton Miheso's low drive from the edge of the box was brilliantly touched wide by the Thailand goalkeeper.

The War Elephants hit back when Teerasil's excellent through ball found Mongkol Tossakrai in the box. The winger turned inside a defender to make space but scuffed his shot wide from 10 yards when it looked like he would score a near identical goal to the one he grabbed in the 3-1 victory over Myanmar on Thursday.

Datsakorn lasted just 27 minutes and was given a standing ovation when he was replaced by Bodin Phala.

There were several more chances in an open first half, and a trademark free kick from Theerathon Bunmathan tested Oluoch Bonface in the Kenya goal.

Michael Olunga's long-range strike forced Kawin into action again, with the Muang Thong United keeper at full stretch to tip the ball over the bar.

And Bodin came close to opening the scoring on the stroke of half-time, but Bonface came out well to block his shot.

Thailand came out with a sense of purpose in the second half and Thitipan was within inches of putting the hosts ahead when his curling effort from the edge of the box was touched onto the post on the hour mark.

But the Thais did not have to wait long to grab the opener as Teerasil got on the scoresheet for the second time in four days in the 63rd minute. As he had done in Thursday's win over Myanmar, Siroch Chatthong came off the bench and made an impact, and his surging run ended in a cut-back to Bodin.

Bodin's low shot from 18 yards was spilled by Bonface and Teerasil pounced on the rebound and rounded the keeper before rolling ball into an empty net.

In the 71st minute, a Teerasil cross found Siroch, but the striker's looping header was comfortably saved by Bonface.

The pace and flow of the game were upset by multiple substitutions, but the Thais held on for a deserved victory to complete a fine week's work for head coach Milovan Rajevac, providing Datsakorn with a fitting farewell.

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